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Switch Over To The Nintendo Special Big Band Concert

MarioIt's time to add some jazz performances of classic music from Donkey Kong Country, Fire Emblem, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Pokémon, and Super Mario Bros. to your day.  The Nintendo Special Big Band performed at the company's Nintendo Switch presentation in Japan a few days ago and the one-hour concert has now become available for your listening and viewing pleasure over at YouTube.  Spend an hour grooving to Nintendo's greatest hits.  Don't miss the Mario medley that begins in classic Nintendo Entertainment System territory, crosses over into Mario Kart 64, and finishes with Super Mario 3D World.  Nintendo periodically produces these kinds of concerts in Japan and it's a shame that they're never made commercially available on a wide scale.  I'd happily part with some money or even a few of those increasingly worthless MyNintendo points for properly mastered and labeled MP3 downloads of these tracks from this show and others like it.

(via Polygon)


Get Screwed With Drill Dozer

Drill Dozer

You'd think that when a video game has "from the makers of Pokémon" as an attribute, it would garner lots of attention, but Nintendo / Game Freak's 2006 Game Boy Advance release Drill Dozer failed to attract as large an audience as Pikachu and company.  Featuring a built-in rumble pak motor in the game cartridge, Drill Dozer follows the adventures of benevolent thief Jill Dozer and big drill mech on her journey to rescue her father from a rival gang of thieves.  Along the way she'll use her drills to tighten and loosen screws in a platformer puzzle adventure that really should have caught on more than it did.  Hardcore Gaming 101 reviews Drill Dozer's case.

The eponymous Drill Dozer is exactly as it sounds: a walking tank with arms that form a huge screw bit. While far from a stealthy vehicle, the simple straightforwardness of its design and mechanics finds a plethora of uses. Sure, it serves as your sole means of offense as well as a great way to reek destruction of walls, but the heavy drill proves its versatility as a means to deflect projectiles, turn cranks, bore through tunnels, and even twist the tumblers in safe locks. The drill arms can spin clockwise or counter-clockwise with the press of the L or R buttons, with many puzzles based on the "righty tighty, lefty loosey" mnemonic; they're even color-coded with blue/red for L/R respectively. This leaves the game rather unique as the B button is placed as a secondary passive role like entering doors or answering messages from your crew. Those shoulder triggers will get quite the workout as every obstacle Jill faces is solved with either jumping, drilling, or the combination of both.

I love a solid platformer so I eagerly bought Drill Dozer when it was released and played it on my Nintendo DS.  It builds a wonderful framework for future titles that never came to be.  There's so much world-building happening in this game that it's impressive that it doesn't derail the actual game experience.  This is a game packed with levels and challenges.  Establishing all of the characters and their motivations complements the entire experience and I was eagerly awaiting a Wii sequel that never came.  Drill Dozer is available now on the Wii U's Virtual Console, so if you overlooked it over a decade ago, I recommend you try it now.  You won't be disappointed.


Power Button - Episode 226: Let's Go For A Super Mario Run

Power ButtonNintendo has brought out the big guns for its first non-Miitomo app as Mario and friends come to iOS in Super Mario Run.  Blake Grundman and I have been enjoying the game and have some thoughts on how it plays, what it means for Nintendo, what we like about it, and what we do not.  Come for the Mario, stay for the sidequest into the madness of the holiday season.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Give Up Your Appellations, Technical Monkey

Gradius 3There's a long line of confusing video game mistranslations out there spanning from the basic "Conglaturations" from Ghostbusters to "A Winner Is You" in Pro Wrestling to the infamous "All your base are belong to us" from Zero Wing.  You can typically deduce the original intent of the bad localization, but sometimes a game throws you such an odd statement that it takes several leaps of logic to arrive at the proper translation.  Consider the arcade difficulty mode of the Super NES version of Konami's Gradius 3 which, if you can finish all of the game's levels, offers up the praise "I'm give up your appellation's Technical Monkey".  What on earth could that possibly mean?  ReyVGM has solved the puzzle and, like all good mistranslations, there's a fun story of design decisions behind it.  I won't spoil it here, but the answer makes perfect sense.  Well, as much sense as a bizarre localization ever makes.  Appellations all around!


A First Look At The Super Mario Bros. Super Show

MarioNintendo felt it was burned in the early 1990s when it licensed Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda out to Hollywood for film and animation projects and didn't like the eventual end result, but for a while there the company really was trying to make it work.  1980s powerhouse DIC turned both games into the animated/live-action hybrid syndication smash The Super Mario Bros. Super Show in 1989 and Nintendo Power was there to promote it.  After all, what better way to spread awareness of the new program than through the game publisher's own in-house publicity publication? Over on Twitter, @VGArt&Tidbits has a scan of the single-page tease from the July/August 1989 issue. 

The main piece of art doesn't represent the visual style used on the cartoon at all, but I remember seeing it on licensed products such as TV trays and notebooks back in the old days, so I don't know if it's just an unrelated piece of art used here as filler or cartoon concept art that changed direction.  Either way, it's an interesting look into the past.  Who's that white-haired Mario ancestor in the photo on the wall?


Nintendo Outlines Vision For Universal Studios Attractions

Mario and friendsNintendo and Universal Studios announced a partnership a while ago to bring the former's beloved characters to the latter's theme parks and resorts.  Today the two companies released a teaser video in which Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Universal Creative's Mark Woodbury outline what they expect to accomplish at the Universal Studios parks in Osaka, Orlando, and Hollywood.  It looks like a Super Mario attraction is up first!

The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

It's easy to get carried away with dreams about an F-Zero rollercoaster and an interactive Kid Icarus quest, but let's be honest: the big guns will be out first.  Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon have to be on the shortlist of Nintendo properties to develop.  As much as I want an EarthBound ride or a Chibi-Robo adventure, the company has enough trouble selling games based on those properties that I doubt they're willing to sink millions into a flashy theme park debut for them right up front.  I would expect to see them represented elsewhere in the experience though much the way that the Walt Disney parks hide instances of Mickey Mouse in rides and attractions.  Either way, I can't wait to visit the Nintendo area of Universal Studios and see what the teams create.


Original Mega Man Cover Paintings Revealed

Mega Man Soccer

While the online gaming community talks a lot about preserving original game code and assets, we don't often hear much about the boxes the old cartridges came inside unless we're talking about how having one boosts the value of the game in question.  All of that fancy art on the cover had to come from somewhere, and today's modern case covers usually spring from the minds of artists directly into Photoshop.  Back in the old days of the 1980s and 1990s, however. publishers commonly had to commission artists to paint actual canvas paintings for the cover.  Protodude's Rockman Corner has a nice exhibit of several of those paintings that were used for the covers of games such as Mega Man 3, Mega Man 6 , and Mega Man X.  Of the paintings on display, my favorite is Mega Man V (for Game Boy) because the character design style is what I always imagine for Mega Man when I think of the series, but I admit I'd love to have the Mega Man Soccer painting on my wall in a nice frame for the sheer "what the hell?" factor.


Power Button - Episode 224: Hilarity Ensues

Power ButtonVideo games are often held up for their action sequences, set pieces, and visuals, but how often do you hear someone remark about hilarious writing?  On this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I spend an hour and a half discussing our favorite funny games.  From Portal 2 to Saints Row IV to Maniac Mansion and beyond, we have some hilarious moments to share.  Before that happens, however, Blake takes us on a sidequest with Pokémon.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


More Proof That Wario And Waluigi Are Knock-Off Mario Brothers

Mario and Wario hats

Nintendo has never revealed much about why Wario and Waluigi feel the need to copy Mario and Luigi, but there are plenty of signs that the duo are pretenders to the throne of great plumbing.  Their unkept mustaches and parodic physical appearances are one clear indicator that the two are not to be taken seriously, but did you know that this philosophy extends to their clothing as well?  And not just the inverse colors.  Thanks to high resolution character artwork for Mario Party: Star Rush, observant folks at Tumblr have noticed key differences in the fabric used to make Mario's hat versus Wario's hat.  It's some very interesting attention to detail.

The Mario Bros. and Wario Bros. hats are made out of completely different materials. While the Mario and Luigi have the embroidered emblems with sewn on borders, Wario and Waluigi have these felt-like patches, and it appears to be glued on instead as there is no stitches and the fabric is slightly raised.  The even stranger detail is that their hats are a different texture to the Mario Bros. With their caps being a fuzzy material, while the original hats are made out of a more a cotton twill. Overall the Wario Bros. hats feel cheap and newer, which is very suiting.

You'd think that with all of the gold that Wario has greeded away over the years, he could afford to have a decent hat made for him.  Nintendo's attention to detail is so important because it shows us smaller elements that contribute to the personalities and backstories of their characters. It would be easy to just apply the appropriate colors to the hats and call it a day, but not only did Nintendo's artists add textures that many people will never notice when they look at the artwork, they used the opportunity to choose appropriate textures for a minute detail like hat fabric and stitching.  Or, as my professional tailor/seamstress girlfriend says, "Costume detail: gotta love it!"


Dr. Wily: Portrait Of A Madman

Dr. WilyI know that hindsight is 20/20 and all, but when I see the gradual mental decline of Mega Man villain Dr. Albert Wily laid out in image after image, I think we should all have realized early on that the erratic scientist was not to be trusted and was very likely become a larger threat to us all.  Just because a man can create Robot Masters does not mean that he's well-balanced.  Take a look at this series of official Capcom character artwork that spans the classic Mega Man series from Mega Man (1987) through Mega Man 8 (1996) and you'll see his physical behavior and manner of dress start to show signs of the troubled soul within.  We really should have found help for him sooner beyond sending Mega Man in to clean up the mess again and again.

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